From: Luke (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Nov 22 2009 - 16:35:32 MST
@BillK: points as follows:
1. Intelligence has a lot to do with knowledge. So I don't think an insect
could be as "intelligent" as a human, precisely because it cannot store as
2. FTA: "Computer modelling shows that even consciousness can be generated
with very small neural circuits, which could in theory easily fit into an
insect brain." Wait a second ... computer scientists have explained
consciousness? When did that happen??
@John K Clark: As far as I know, there are at least three states of
relationship between an upstream neuron and a downstream neuron:
excitatory, inhibitory, or not-connected. I have also assumed for a long
time that the first two states could exist to varying degrees. So that's
more than a bit.
Finally, there are over 100 neurotransmitters, any combination of which can
act at a particular synapse.
@Adam (friend of mine who's studied the brain more than me): do you know
the answer to this? What can we know about the information capacity of a
synapse? Do you know of any resources?
On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 5:51 PM, BillK <email@example.com> wrote:
> On 11/22/09, John K Clark wrote:
> > As far as I know that is wrong. I don't know of any experimental
> > evidence that a synapse thorough LTP can encode more than one bit of
> > information, nor do I know of any reasonable explanation other than LTP
> > about how a synapse can encod information. If you have news that
> > invalidates any of the above I would very much like to hear about it.
> A recent article from Physorg
> Bigger not necessarily better, when it comes to brains
> November 17, 2009
> Tiny insects could be as intelligent as much bigger animals, despite
> only having a brain the size of a pinhead, say scientists at Queen
> Mary, University of London.
> "Animals with bigger brains are not necessarily more intelligent,"
> according to Lars Chittka, Professor of Sensory and Behavioural
> Ecology at Queen Mary's Research Centre for Psychology and University
> of Cambridge colleague, Jeremy Niven. This begs the important
> question: what are they for?
> Research repeatedly shows how insects are capable of some intelligent
> behaviours scientists previously thought was unique to larger animals.
> Honeybees, for example, can count, categorise similar objects like
> dogs or human faces, understand 'same' and 'different', and
> differentiate between shapes that are symmetrical and asymmetrical.
> Chittka says: "In bigger brains we often don't find more complexity,
> just an endless repetition of the same neural circuits over and over.
> This might add detail to remembered images or sounds, but not add any
> degree of complexity. To use a computer analogy, bigger brains might
> in many cases be bigger hard drives, not necessarily better
> This must mean that much 'advanced' thinking can actually be done with
> very limited neuron numbers. Computer modelling shows that even
> consciousness can be generated with very small neural circuits, which
> could in theory easily fit into an insect brain.
> In fact, the models suggest that counting could be achieved with only
> a few hundred nerve cells and only a few thousand could be enough to
> generate consciousness.
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